Deeply flawed but, nonetheless recommended!
They say that life is full of compromises and few better examples exist than Amenity Apartel, at least in regards to accommodations in Lamai Beach.
The fact that I originally booked for three nights and ended up staying 9, is testament to the fact that overall, this really is ‘My’, kinda apartment. However, that’s not to say it would necessarily be your ‘cup of tea’.
This surely explains why sites like Tripadvisor et al’, provide such a useful service to the global traveller and consequently, why star ratings are inherently flawed as a general means of determining your chosen place of lodging.
Which, all rather neatly brings me to my review of the Amenity Apartel, this then is my take-on the Good, the Bad and the decidedly paradoxical nature of the above Hotel.
But, let’s start at the very beginning…
Question: Prefer to stay at the very heart of the action rather than on the outskirts of town?
Well, you can get your wish if you stay at the Amenity. The beach is literally, but a strong man’s stones throw away and you can walk loooong time in either direction once at the entry point. You can then while away both the day as well as the contents of your wallet on many of the food and beverage stops dotted along the way, many of them aligned to the various large hotels that line the main thoroughfare.
It was now just past 11:20, I should have arrived even earlier but the bus driver couldn’t find the hotel and just kept going round and round the streets of Lamai as if on some faintly magical mystical tour. At one point, he actually attempted to drop me off somewhere else with a similar sounding name. God bless literacy in all its forms as it’s a good job I can read as I’m unsure as to whether he could! Lol!
In the end, he rather gave up and dropped me at the gates of the Pavilion Hotel, which is the bigger sister and more upmarket partner to the Amenity Apartel. I knew I was close to my eventual destination having done some small research on both before I had pressed the ‘Book Now’, button but still, even with muted guidance from the staff at the Pavilion, it was still another 30 minutes till I eventually wandered through reception, what apullarver as my dear old Nan would say!
As check-in proper was 14:00, the room was still being made ready for occupation. It was therefore suggested by Mee Mee, the smiley receptionist, that I leave my luggage and reacquaint myself with the joys that are Lamai Central, returning on or around 13:00.
Thus, having sampled the delights that is McDonalds, Thai style, something I would limit myself to perhaps once or twice a year whilst at home, I duly returned at 13:00, only to be informed that all was still unready. However, seeing my fine, if ever so slightly disheveled frame, pity was taken upon me and I was kindly shown to room 305, a family room, this whilst the finishing touches were made to mine.
I cannot tell you what a difference a 30 minute snooze can make to a Man’s demeanor, sheer bliss and properly appreciated!
The Family room was huge, see pics, great for say a family but way too big for me.
Thankfully, all was eventually made ready and I happily moved next door to room 304 which was also located on the second floor – (no lift). The room was classified as a ‘Deluxe’, on Expedia.com that reputedly came with a queen size bed however, I was pleasantly surprised to find a King in its place and although I was travelling alone, there’s nowt better than a good stretch in the morning after recovering from the previous day’s, and nights, activity’s.
After inspecting the obvious, i.e. toilet – safe – TV – bed – AC ect, I settled in and finally, began my re-acquaintance with Lamai proper.
Location, location and…Location. As already mentioned, you are but a stones throw from both the beach and the action of walking street. The room itself was both clean and tidy with plenty of power available points, a point within itself not to be underestimated these day’s, especially given the growing nature of our digital society.
The bathroom was of a good size and there was plenty of shower pressure available. Towels were changed daily and room service was more than accommodating, especially given the strange hours I kept which often meant access to my room was only available after 15:00.
A quick tip here.
If you know you’re going to be sleeping late and still hope to get your room serviced, it pay’s to have a quiet word with the maid responsible. In some respects, they’re amongst the most important people in a hotel or resort, very often both underpaid as well as overworked. Saying thank-you verbally is great, saying it practically is even better.
Reception staff, especially Mee Mee, was lovely and always thoroughly accommodating. Even the quick acting but non-speaking guard controlling the barrier to the car par was very pleasant, its amazing how much good-will can be produced with the simple giving of a regular bottle of 10 baht Coke.
The pool was small as everyone say’s but, perfectly adequate for a dip after exertions at the Pavilion’s gym. Speaking of which, as a guest of the Amenity, you are automatically entitled to use most of the facilities at the Pavilion, i.e. gym, swimming pool ect. The gym is small with 6 or so machines and some free weights however, it is clean and was always well ordered when I attended.
It officially closes at 19:30 which is a mite early for this regular gym user. Nevertheless, I was generally left alone till 20:00 when the nice lady who was no doubt charged with turning everything off, gave me the wryest of smiles which basically meant my time was up as her goodwill had all but vanished. Lol!
The Pavilion Hotel is huge in comparison to the Amenity being a TUI partner hotel. It was also more than double the price per night I was paying on Expedia.
I’ve done my fair share of large corporate resorts and now largely try to avoid them, mainly for the reason of both the probable footfall, as well as the oft perceived lack of a personal touch. Saying that though, I was at the Centara Resort in Karon beach last January which was very enjoyable and although clearly corporate, it certainly didn't lack a personality, so no hard and fast rules here.
As for the price paid to stay at the Amenity, this is where it gets a little confusing.
The price received from Expedia was very competitive, so much so that when I asked Mee Mee to match the price as shown on their website, she was unable to do so or even get close. I was also given the impression that a Deluxe Room was unavailable for further nights if I booked directly through her anyway. This was very odd as there were multiple sites all offering a 'Deluxe Room', at varying prices for the nights in question. In the end, I renewed through Expedia a further two times eventually staying a total of nine nights in all.
Overall, I feel the Amenity offers a very fair representation of what a nice three star resort should look like.
Location, location and, location. The constant noise from traffic is just all pervading, night, day, morning whenever.
I could be wrong here so please check with the hotel just in case but…Looking at the structure of the building, I believe all the rooms are street facing as entrances are poolside. This makes the noise pollution simply unavoidable, in which case, if this is an issue for you, best to look elsewhere for your accommodation.
As I sleep so deeply, it only actually bothered me on one or two occasions however, I began to accept latterly that it was becoming a growing problem, even for me.
The pool was cleaned but once whilst there and so became both cloudy and unattractive to use, although…
Knowing and accepting my general tardiness with time, the kind ladies on reception would often leave a towel for me (when they remembered that is!), in order that I might enjoy a quick and cooling dip after a work-out. This was hugely appreciated so thank you Ladies.
Breakfast. What breakfast?
You could go up the road to the Pavilion but I was never awake at that time so it never really bothered me. When I was ready for early afternoon sustenance, the Shamrock pub does a good Irish fryup for about 230 baht.
Staff tended to retire after 18:00 so the front desk was largely deserted after that time. Again, no real issue for me but its possible some viewers may feel a little vulnerable at the prospect that anyone can just literally walk in and go wander unnoticed and unchecked.
Given the fact that for a large part of my stay the hotel was literally deserted, I had in effect the place to myself, which suited me just fine. This only changed when a family of four moved in below me half-way through my stay, and thought it fun to give their infant brat a whistle to play with first thing in the morning. It was only then that I discovered just how thin the dividing walls were.
How then to properly sum up the Amenity Apartel?
From the perspective of this single traveller, I think given the excellent deal I received from Expedia and the obvious prime location, I simply have to recommend The Amenity.
I am though expressly aware that it will not suit everybody, especially given the very real issues I believe exist surrounding potential noise.
In truth, if I were being asked to pay 2000 plus baht on top of what I was already paying when properly busy in high season, it probably wouldn’t suit me either.
A really difficult one this, but my best suggestion would be to book 1/2 nights initially and see if it suits. Trouble is of course, if you plan to travel in high season, you then run the real risk of it actually being booked out proper.
You pay’s your money and takes your choice and very often, chances.
Happy and as always safe travelling.
Solo travel - Apr 17, 2017